Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) holds talks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 14 (XINHUA)
Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on October 15. The two leaders agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership of cooperation.
During the meeting, Xi said the closer partnership the two sides forged in 2010 has yielded fruitful results, with bilateral cooperation seeing steady progress in political, economic, cultural and security areas and on international and regional affairs.
China highly values its friendly cooperative ties with Bangladesh and will continue to offer support within its capacity for the economic and social development of the South Asian country, Xi said.
Noting that China is striving for its "two centenary goals" while Bangladesh is pursuing its "Sonar Bangla" dream of national strength and prosperity, Xi added that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative can dovetail with Bangladesh's cooperation strategies with the outside world.
The "two centenary goals" refer to China's aspiration to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary in 2021 and turn the People's Republic of China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the time it celebrates its centenary in 2049.
Since establishing diplomatic ties 41 years ago, China and Bangladesh have adhered to "the five principles of peaceful co-existence" and have respected and supported each other in choosing the development path and domestic and foreign policies in accordance with its national conditions, said Xi.
Now in their pursuit of development, the two countries should be friends and partners that trust and support each other and advance practical cooperation to reap even richer fruits, so as to inject more impetus into bilateral ties, said the Chinese president.
Hasina, for her part, said the traditional friendship between Bangladesh and China, forged by the two countries' leaders of the older generation, enjoys deeply rooted public support in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh admires China's economic achievement, and is ready to strengthen cooperation with China while pursuing its "Sonar Bangla" dream, said the prime minister.
Bangladesh resolutely adheres to the one-China policy and is ready to maintain mutual understanding and support with the Chinese side on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns, she said.
After their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation documents covering such areas as the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative, production capacity cooperation, information and telecommunication, energy and power, diplomacy, maritime affairs, disaster prevention and alleviation, and climate change.
The two sides also issued a joint statement about the upgrading of bilateral ties to a strategic partnership of cooperation.
The document said the visit has ushered the traditional friendship between China and Bangladesh into a new era and bears significant historical importance to the bilateral relationship.
The two sides agreed to enhance high-level exchanges, maintain frequent contacts between leaders of the two countries on the sidelines of multilateral fora, strengthening exchanges and cooperation at various levels between the two governments, legislative bodies, political parties, and peoples to deepen mutual trust at all levels.
They agreed to enhance the alignment of the development strategies of the two countries, fully tap the potentials of cooperation in various areas, work on "the Belt and Road Initiative" so as to realize sustainable development and common prosperity of the two countries.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
Bangladesh is appreciative of the initiative, believing it will bring important opportunities for Bangladesh' s goals of becoming a middle-income country by 2021 and a Developed Country by 2041.
China and Bangladesh agreed to expand and deepen trade and investment cooperation and identify infrastructure, industrial capacity cooperation, energy and power, transportation, information and communication technology and agriculture as the key areas of bilateral pragmatic cooperation.
They agreed to start feasibility studies on the establishment of China-Bangladesh Free Trade Area.
China will continue to encourage and support Chinese enterprises to invest and build Economic and Industrial Zones in Bangladesh. Bangladesh will facilitate and support Chinese enterprises doing business in Bangladesh.
Chinese side will provide support and assistance to Bangladesh in strengthening disaster management capacity building, seeking waste management and water treatment solutions for both urban and industrial areas and developing earthquake resilient infrastructure.
China and Bangladesh agreed to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges and carry forward the traditional friendship between the two countries and to announce the year 2017 as the Year of Friendship and Exchanges between China and Bangladesh.
The document specified that China will train 500 Chinese-language teachers for Bangladesh and 100 Bangladeshi cultural professionals, and invite 600 Bangladeshi students to visit China during 2016 to 2020.
It also said the two sides are ready to enhance communication and coordination in pushing forward the construction of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. They agreed to push for early consensus on the Joint Study Report and establish the governmental cooperation framework between the four parties, so as to launch early harvest programs at an early date.
The document highlighted bilateral cooperation in other fields such as industrial capacity, finance, maritime affairs, climate change and fight against terrorism and on international affairs.
Xi arrived in Dhaka earlier in the day for a state visit, the first by a Chinese head of state to the South Asian country in 30 years.
Bangladesh is the second leg of Xi's visit, which already took him to Cambodia. He will also travel to the western Indian state of Goa for a summit of the emerging-market bloc of BRICS, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2016)